Hatching season for Olive Ridley turtles commences

The much awaited hatching season for Olive Ridley turtles has begun. On Sunday, an Olive Ridley turtle laid 128 eggs at the Dhanushkodi beach. This is the first incident of Olive Ridley turtles laying eggs in the state this season.
Hatching season for Olive Ridley turtles commences
Forest department personnel collect the eggs laid by the turtles on Dhanushkodi

Madurai

Because of a threat to the turtles, they have been classified as vulnerable by International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Generally, their hatching season commences in December and goes on till April. Though, the task is a Sisyphean, the forest department staff patiently collect the eggs laid by the turtles and safeguard them in hatcheries.
After 45 - 70 days, the eggs will begin to hatch. The hatchlings are then released safely into the sea. The journey from the hatchlings to the sea is a long one for a tiny ridley. Therefore, the staff guide and keep a watch over the little ones with happiness mixed with relief.
According to the Forest Department, last year, the hatching season began on December 13 and more than 13,000 eggs were collected and over 12,000 hatchlings were released into the sea.
Sathish, Forest Ranger, Mandapam Forest Range, said that the hatching season has commenced on time, this year too. He pointed out that a temporary hatchery has been set up at Muhuntharayarchathiram, around10 kilometres from Arichalmunai, and the eggs have been transferred to the temporary hatching centre.
“After the hatching period of 45-70 days, the young turtles will be released into the sea,” said Sathish.
“It is important to note that once an Olive Ridley lays eggs at a particular place, it will come back to the same place next year too. Therefore, the area should be left undisturbed for them to lay their eggs,” said Sathish. He also expressed fear over the impact cyclone ‘Ockhi’ might have had on these vulnerable creatures. “We have to wait and watch their egg-laying pattern this year and it is too early to comment on the matter,” he explained

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